Ad link

Photo by Rebekah Greiman.

Magazine | Together in OK

Mick and Gayla Gower

• By

Posted 01.31.12

A record-setting cyclone had hit Australia’s outback, the counter-clockwise storm bringing dark clouds, swollen rivers, and pelting rains. The storm pounded the area surrounding Kathmandu National Park—a land that offered Mick Gower his livelihood. Mick was an outback guide, and he steered tourists through the desolate terrain like some real-life Crocodile Dundee.

As the rain poured, even the dry ares of the outback had filled with water chest high. Gayla Gower jumped into the river along with the other tourists, but underestimated the current. Arms flailing, struggling to surface, and worried about death-by-crocodile, she was swept away. From the bank of the river, a fellow guide shouted to Mick Gower to save the American.

Mick, the dreadlocked, shoeless tour guide didn’t mind rescuing the “best looking one in the bunch” as she floated  downstream, sporting shorts of stars and stripes. He dove in and pulled her to his side, easily bringing her to shore. Gayla needed rescuing two more times during the hike. Each time, it was Mick to the rescue. By the end of the tour, Mick and Gayla had become an item. And years later, Mick abandoned his “feral lifestyle”—not to mention an entire continent—to be with Gayla in Tulsa.


Support great storytelling from the middle of America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get

  • Our very best longform journalism
  • Sneak previews of the magazine
  • Special offers on This Land merchandise